Democratic Underground

The Lincoln Submarine
by Atrios

There are things we know and things we do not know about the recent submarine disaster. We know that there were civilians on that sub. We know that this is not an uncommon event. Civilians apparently often board navy vessels.

One question is simply "who?" I would like to take a ride on a submarine. How do I get to go? I can understand why the media would be allowed to take a few rides. The military obviously needs some positive PR at times. In addition, it is actually refreshing that such things are no longer completely secret and off-limits to public inspection.

Other than the media or similar agents, who else gets to take a ride on submarine? Perhaps politicians and visiting dignitaries do. Fair enough. Perhaps the family members of navy personnel. Fair enough. But who else? It isn't Disney World. They aren't charging admission. Nor, as far as I can tell, is there a signup sheet. So, who gets to go?

The answer is very simple. People with connections get to go. This of course includes big donors to the various political parties. I want members of the press to ask a simple question - how does one get on the submarine passenger list? They will not ask the question.

There is a simple reason - renting out the Lincoln Bedroom pales in comparison to renting rides in a nuclear sub. The press spent years on the Lincoln Bedroom story. It was stupid then and stupid now. The submarine disaster makes it clear just how stupid the issue was.

The "civilians on the sub" story is equally stupid, unless there is a genuine safety issue there (which it turns out there may be). Of course it is well connected donors who get to ride on the sub, if anyone does. Big Oil donors were on that sub.

We shouldn't be surprised. Nor should it be a surprise that Clinton friends and donors were guests in his own house. In fact, that is quite a bit less surprising. But the media should be asking the question - not because it is important, but because part of their job is to put things in context. It is not too late for them to correct some mistakes in emphasis.

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